City Government

Lingering Land Deal Questions

Boise City needs a shooting range for the coppers and the city owns bare ground in a blighted area–which they created–that needs to be developed. Obvious solution is to sell the bare ground and buy the shooting range.

Not in this River City. Boise officials are scrambling to clean up the swap with some docs who want to build a private hospital on City land at 25th and Fairview. The scramble is after the fact because the Council has ALREADY APPROVED IT!

The deal calls for a trade that is highly questionable. Authority is claimed via a four year old council action. All of the current negotiations have been conducted in secret meetings with the final approval lumped among 15 other minor items on a “consent agenda.” Closing was put on hold for a month after the GUARDIAN sent a letter to the council questioning the compliance with Idaho Code.

Sorry to keep whipping this horse, but we feel it is important for Boise City to play by the rules. The City legal department–actually pretty reasonable folk– “has been directed” to not talk with us according to a polite call we got from a legal department staffer.

We were shuffled to the spokesman for Team Dave–who is not an attorney. The following legal questions have been sent to him and we will gladly share the answers.

–If this deal was OK and so insignificant that it was on the consent agenda, why consider it again?

–What PUBLIC PURPOSE do we have in the acquisition of land at 950 Citation off Gowen Road?

–The Ada assessor is adamant the 950 Citation land is worth at MOST $241,000–and probably less– due to basalt rock at surface. Why are we not challenging the $414,000 value?

–Are we open to any type of fraud allegations by potentially allowing the other side a $190,000 deduction on Income taxes? (If they indeed claim one). Isn’t it like making an insurance claim for $2,000 when repair costs were only $1,000 because the repair estimate was inflated?

–The November 2004 ordinance calls for $9.35 per square foot. My math indicates we got a lot less than that. I think the $9.35 figure would have yielded about $1.7 million. This deal is for less.

–Is the original notice and hearing still good if the description of the land and price is altered? It would seem that a four year old notice with no details of the actual exchange would not be binding.

–Is that 2004 ordinance from a previous council binding on the current council for future actions? One elected body cannot impose obligations on a future body as the GUARDIAN understands the law.

–Has the City asked for proposals from any other realtors or developers who would still get us the shooting range in trade?

–Why is the City land not just put up for bid and auctioned to the highest bidder instead of this convoluted three way swap with so many parties involved?

–What is the problem with putting it up for bid? We may get more, or we may get less, in which case someone can get a head start on the development process. At least it would not smack of insider trading with a single organization.

Park also refused to answer the questions, but invited the GUARDIAN to appear before the Council at a public meeting Tuesday September 30 at 6p.m. We will be there and hope there are others interested enough in good government to attend as well.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Clancy Anderson
    Sep 26, 2008, 10:35 am

    I can’ t see why Boise would NEED that property. The listing agent seems to think that land is worth $541,000.

    The whole deal is fishy and I agree Boise should sell their land to buy new land. No trades. Failure to clearly answer any of the above questions should sink this deal.

  2. Well, Mr. Guardian…you’re such a pain in the derriere, but you may have a good complaint here. I’d love to hear the point of view of one of the city leaders so that I’d know if you’re just interrupting good city business or if they were really trying to be sneaky with a lot of bad judgement.

    EDITOR NOTE–The council has apparently agreed to hear my concerns at the public meeting Tuesday Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. I invite you and anyone else to come and make your own judgement…even voice your opinion.

  3. The Boise Picayune staunchly supports the Boise Guardian’s unrelenting campaign for honest, ethical and transparent governance.

    …and furthermore:

    The entire State of Idaho has fewer people than Manhattan Island, and the City of Boise fewer than most neighborhoods in an American City…

    Yet Boise is populated by a convolution of Quasi-Governmental Entities (i.e. CCDC) and Political Fiefdoms (i.e. GBAD) who’s real purpose appears to be to relieve the Mayor and City Council of any real responsibility or accountability, and perhaps most insidiously, to provide plausible deniability.

    Shenanigans abound with failed projects due to a total absence of due diligence, and the insult-to-injury of repeated attempts to circumvent State Law and the will of the Voters.

    Recent examples can be found at the Boise Guardian, where Mr. David R. Frazier continues to successfully thwart City Hall’s repeated attempts to break the law and veil it’s intentions.

    The Boise Picayune renews it’s call for the installation of a City Manager form of governance to bring accountability and sanity to local government.

    The next City Council Meeting is Tuesday, September 30 at 6 p.m.

    All those interested in good government are urged to attend.

    EDITOR NOTE–If anyone wishes to speak or is allowed to speak, please stay on message and confine remarks to the land trade issue.

  4. Absolutely spot on, Picayune! The real problem here is they are returned to office by a substantial margin! It will be very interesting to see how they “spin” this latest snafu!

  5. Wow, Fraz! You keep on ’em like a bulldog on a burglar.
    Way to go!!!

  6. One thing I never hear mentioned is apportionment, or rather the lack of it.

    Even the city historian doesn’t know when the last time the city of Boise added a councilor position, it’s been 6 as long as anyone alive can remember.

    Look at it this way. In 1960 the city population was roughly 35,000. As of 2008, it’s approaching 235,000. In 1960, every 6000 had a city councilor, so to speak. In 2008, each councilor represents nearly 40,000 people. Compared to the generation of early 60s, the worth of our vote has been diluted by 6 or 7 to 1.

    The same could be said about the State and Federal gov’ts.

  7. Clippityclop
    Sep 29, 2008, 8:23 am

    You’re my hero. Plain and simple. This communty is immeasurably better off because of you.

  8. check out the council meeting agenda for the 30th… supposedly revisiting the land deal. But surprise, it’s right back on the consent agenda. Any sign yet of the required public hearing notice? Given that it’s on the consent agenda, it’s hard to argue that it’s a public hearing.
    Scroll down to RESOLUTION “H.”

    I intend to appear before the council and request the item be removed from the consent agenda and opened for public discussion (citizens are allowed to do that). Council has advised me they will listen to comments at that time.

  9. Clancy Anderson should see if the listing agent is related to someone on the council. Remember realtors are paid on commission – they loved the price bubble of the last few years.

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